Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said that efficiency of delivery has to increasingly become the focus of Government programmes, as there is an urgent need to strengthen the accountability mechanisms in the public domain.
Addressing the two-day Annual Economic Editors’ Conference in the national capital, Mr. Mukherjee said the implementation of the Right to Information Act (RTI) at the Centre and in many States, the setting up of the National Authority to operationalise the Unique ID number, and launch of National Skill Development Corporation are some steps in the direction of improving governance with regard to delivery of public services.
"Steps are being taken to strengthen the project monitoring and evaluation system for public programmes and linking the performance and feedback with subsequent allocations of resources and continuation of programmes,” Mr. Mukherjee said.
The minister also said that the objective of deepening and broadening the agenda for inclusive development is a major commitment of the Government. "To ensure that no individual, community or region is denied the opportunity to participate in and benefit from the development process and that there is food for all, education for all and health for all, the Government has undertaken a paradigm shift for making the development process more inclusive,” Mr. Mukherjee said.
"It involves creating entitlements backed by legal guarantee in those areas of the development process, where existing institutional arrangements and delivery mechanisms have so far been unsuccessful in breaking down the barriers to universal access to basic public goods and opportunities for livelihood,” he added.
Mr. Mukherjee further said that the Government has already seen great success in programmes such as the NREGA that have been implemented as a part of the initiative.
"In the past months extensive review of the programme has been undertaken and changes introduced to make it more effective and flexible in meeting local concerns. However, there is still a long way to go and we need to further improve the momentum of our efforts,” the Finance Minister said.
"For us, economic growth has to be an instrument for development and not an end in itself. It has to be not only inclusive but also equitable so as to sustain it over long period. In the last five years, we have moved steadfastly in that direction and I am sure that we will cover considerable ground in the next five years,” Mr. Mukherjee added.